Westcott Clarifies Devils’ Draft Picks

With the Qualifying Round largely done, we know that the Islanders, Coyotes, Canadiens, Blackhawks and Canucks will be moving on to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Only the Maple Leafs-Blue Jackets play-in series remains to be finalized as well as the seeding for most of the teams that already qualified for the playoffs.

Because of that, there was some hashing out of just where the Devils’ Draft picks, acquired in trades with conditions, would be.

Enter Chris Westcott, who posted to the “Inside the Devils Blog” today to clarify where the Devils stand.

Westcott said that the Devils have three first-round picks in 2020. These include their own, Arizona’s first-round pick (the Coyotes defeated the Predators to advance to play the Avalanche in the first round of what will be just Taylor Hall’s second trip to the playoffs) as a part of the Taylor Hall trade and Vancouver’s first-round pick via Tampa Bay (the Blake Coleman deal). The Canucks ousted the Wild to move on.

Now, of course, Westcott does mention that if Hall re-signs with Arizona or the Yotes somehow upset Colorado in the first-round of the playoffs, the Devils would get “a 2021 second-rounder instead of a third. But if both of these things transpire, the Devils would receive a first-round pick in 2021” from the Coyotes.

He also talks about the Sami Vatanen deal where, if Vatanen plays in 70-percent of the Hurricanes’ playoff games, New Jersey “will get a 2020 third instead of a fourth-round pick.”

Westcott said that if the Draft were today, the Devils would have the seventh (their pick), eighteenth and twentieth picks in the first-round. The Arizona and Vancouver picks will likely change as the playoffs move on and teams get “reseeded” in the Draft order.

Westcott says that, essentially, we, as Devils fans, should be rooting for Vatanen and Arizona.

If Vatanen can stay healthy, that pick condition should be met no problem. The Hurricanes probably like what they see and see Vatanen as a good weapon, especially on the power play.

The Taylor Hall thing is where it gets less likely that we get what we want. Hall wants stability above all else. Sure, if the Yotes get him his first ever playoff series win, he would be more apt to re-sign there. The problem is the GM situation. John Chayka is gone, leaving them with an interim general manager for the time being. It is even more chaotic than the Devils towards the end of Hall’s tenure here.

But we will see how things pan out. Right now, the Devils have three first-rounders in a good draft. This is time to move forward and think of the team’s future.

Coleman Traded to Tampa

In news that came down during the Devils 4-3 shootout victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier tonight, fan favorite forward Blake Coleman has been dealt to the Tampa Bay Lightning. This was the second of two deals made by Devils’ interim general manager Tom Fitzgerald today, a little over a week before the NHL Trade Deadline. Defenseman Andy Greene was sent to the New York Islanders earlier in the day.

Coleman, who had 21 goals and 31 points this season, was traded in exchange for left winger Nolan Foote and Vancouver’s first round pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. The pick is conditional. Should Vancouver miss the playoffs this year, the pick becomes the Canucks’ first round pick in 2021.

The Devils could now conceivably have eight picks in the 2020 Draft, including a potential for three first round picks (their own, Arizona’s and the Canucks’ – via Tampa Bay).

Foote, the son of former NHL defenseman Adam, is currently 19 and playing for the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. According to the Devils’ press release, Foote has 15 goals and 18 assists (33 points) in 26 games for the Rockets this season. He won a gold medal with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship back in December, as well. The release mentions that he has played with Ty Smith on the WHL All-Star team at the Jr. Super Series the last two years. Foote stands 6-feet, four-inches tall and weight 200 pounds as of now.

The release says that he was born in Denver while his father was a member of the Avalanche and was selected 27th overall in the first round by the Lightning in 2019.

Fitzgerald summed up the feeling of most fans when he said: “This transaction allows us to acquire two key pieces in continuing to build this team around our foundational cornerstones.” Those “foundational cornerstones” include Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes and Mackenzie Blackwood according to Fitzgerald himself in a pregame press conference regarding the Greene trade on MSG Network.

He continued: “Foote is a big, physical winger, with an excellent shot and great offensive instincts, especially on the power play. He will complement our young forward group for a long time.”

But in order to get, you have to give. The Devils will miss a player like Coleman, who was a great penalty killer and always dangerous for a shorthanded goal. He really became an all-situations player this year, as he was starting to get more time on the power play.

He was also, of course, a fan favorite. There was a contingent of fans who were interested in seeing Coleman even being named the Devils’ next captain.

But he was going to be a free agent after next season and right now, he was a peak value to a win-now team like the Lightning. The Devils got a really great package back for him, possibly even better than what they got for Taylor Hall. The pick gives them more ammo at the Draft and Foote is, by all accounts, a really good prospect who could be a key part of the Devils moving forward.

So, while it is sad to see Blake Coleman go (he posted a note to Devils fans and management on his social media thanking them for how he was treated in his time in New Jersey), the return we got should make Devils fans very excited for the future.